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The Gut Check No. 405: 10 Potential Training Camp Risers

Matt Waldman examines 10 players he's monitoring during training camp and expects good things. 

Did you enjoy the past three months of mini camp and OTA reports? Were you thrilled about rookie wide receivers catching everything in sight against defenders that couldn't hit them? How about those running backs working through creases with about as much force as you handling the morning crowd at the transit station?

Yeah, about as thrilled as I am that Josh Gordon has yet to figure out his football career. 

Thank God it's time to get real. Thank God it's time for training camp. With hitting about to commence, I'm counting down my players that I expect to see rise the most in my rankings.

The longer I do this work, the less I'm inclined to put players at a high spot in my rankings when there are opportunities to wait and see notable reasons to merit such a spot. At the same time, I often know between May and July that I'll probably be less cautious as good news arrives in late July and August.

The reasons for the expected upgrades are several: Some are rookies who must prove their transition to the passing game isn't too bumpy; others have a recent history of injuries that bogged them down early and they didn't play to their ADP; and, there are options who I'm not as concerned about them as I am their surrounding talent.  

While I do what I can to supply comments for 95 percent of my Footballguys rankings, it's not easy for the reader to keep track of who I expect to rise without writing it down. This week, I'll do it for you so you'll have a handy list for August monitoring. Some of the players on this list are options I've already upgraded because I'm seeing good signs about their health and surrounding talent.

10. Dez Bryant

I bumped Bryant into low-end WR1 range this weekend because anything less than WR1 expectations from a healthy player of his skills and surrounding talent is ludicrous. Bryant was the No. 9 fantasy receiver in football after Week 6 last year and despite Dak Prescott relying heavily on the two-man game of Jason Witten and Cole Beasley in the short and intermediate range of the field, Bryant's 16.6 yards-per-catch average was at least 2.4 yards better than all top-12 receivers not named T.Y. Hilton (16.8 ypc). It's telling that Bryant and Prescott developed a down-field rapport and the Cowboys loosened up the game plan because Prescott proved reliable. My only concern is Bryant getting hurt. He competes hard in training camp so if he emerges unscathed by the end of Week 3, he'll jump another 5 spots into my top 5 receivers. It's not a huge jump, but we're taking this in reverse order of magnitude.


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